A LOCAL authority may unexpectedly have to hand over more than pound;10 million of funds earmarked for school improvement to the descendants of Victorian landowners.
Bradford Council hoped to pocket more than pound;20m when disused school land is sold off following reorganisation of the city's three-tier education system into primaries and secondaries.
But it has now learned that many of the sites have "reverter clauses" attached to them which means money from the sale should go to survivors of the original landowner. Once the sales have gone through the council will have to take all reasonable steps, including advertising, to track down relatives of the riginal landowners.
The clauses were only discovered when officers dug out some of the original contracts before Christmas.
It is not yet clear how many of the 60 sites have such clauses but the council's education chair, David Ward, believes it could be more than a half.
He said: "This could cause us massive problems and I am furious that we didn't know about it before. We were planning to spend almost all the money on modernising and improving our remaining schools.
"If we end up having to hand over a lot of the cash to surviving relatives it means we will have to raid the money from other areas of the council's coffers."